Africa

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's plane 'catches fire'

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (file photo)
Image caption The president was not said to have been hurt during the emergency landing

A plane carrying the Somali president has been forced to make an emergency landing in Mogadishu after one of its engines reportedly caught fire.

A spokesman for President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said it was not clear why the engine stopped working.

The president was not hurt but firefighters scrambled to put out the flames, local reports say.

Mr Mohamud was chosen as president last year in a UN-backed move to end decades of conflict.

The BBC's Mohamed Mwalimu says the plane's tyres were damaged in the incident.

The president was flying to the South Sudan capital, Juba, when it was forced to turn round.

One of the first reports of the incident came from a Twitter feed run by the al-Shabab militant group but it did not say it had attacked the plane.

African Union and Somali forces backing Mr Mohamud have driven al-Shabab from the country's main cities in the past year but the al-Qaeda-linked group still stages occasional attacks.

The new government is the first one in more than two decades to be recognised by the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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